All of the amazing concurrently running astrology workshops and classes comprising the 9th United Astrology Conference, recently held here in Chicago from May 23 to May 30 at the Marriott Magnificent Mile hotel on Michigan Avenue, definitely made it hard for me to choose which world-class teacher’s talk I would attend at any of the time slots for each day. At times I wanted a truly trans-historical, “big picture” perspective on the Cosmic Intelligences at work in all of our lives, while at other times my Virgo Sun Sign made me want to take a more granular view of planetary energies, focusing on present or imminent planetary transits. And while so many of my fellow Americans were planning on celebrating the Memorial Day holiday on Monday, May 28, through the time-honored tradition of outdoor grilling and family barbeques, the fires I wanted to zero in on instead were those of “Mars Transits and the Mars Cycle,” my first class of the day, which was taught by astrologer Donna Van Toen.
The main conference days of UAC 2018 were Friday, May 25 through Tuesday, May 29, though I also elected to participate in Karen Hamaker-Zondag’s 6-hour-long post-conference workshop on May 30 on the subject of the 8th House. These glorious days of intense learning, fellowship, socializing (I organized a small-group dinner outing to Greek Town for out-of-state conference attendees the night of Sunday, May 27) and partying (the Chicago “Roaring Twenties”-themed jazz party and silent auction on Saturday the 26thwas lots of fun) were definitely presided over by Airy and Watery Elemental forces.
I’ve had a week to process the conclusion of one of the most formative experiences of my life: the 9th United Astrology Conference (UAC), which was held here in Chicago from May 23 to May 30. Sponsored by the International Association for Astrological Research, the American Federation of Astrologers, the National Council for Geocosmic Research, the American College of Vedic Astrology, and the Association for Astrological Networking, UAC is the world’s largest international astrology conference, and it gathers every three, six, or nine years somewhere in North America. I felt so lucky to have had this 2018 9th gathering take place so close to my house, which definitely helped as a cost-saving measure; I certainly wouldn’t have been able to attend if it were held elsewhere.
This week-long “staycation” for me was prompted by a profound inner urging to not just accelerate the developments of my skill sets in astrology as a profession, but to heed the soul’s prompting to undergo a profound journey of self-discovery and self-actualization, a journey which entailed a major healing process for me as well—one that I didn’t (consciously) know that I needed. So many of us ask “the biggies” about what we are doing here on this earth, the lessons our incarnation brings us (as well as how to resolve past lessons so we don’t tote around so much karmic baggage!), and how to find our true purpose by maximizing the gifts we were born with and living a fulfilling life of self-development and service to others. And through it all, we acknowledge the acutely limited time allotted to us as mortal beings, which definitely adds to a sense of urgency to “figure it all out” before we grow too old and convince ourselves that our dreams have eluded us.
As Above, So Below
That’s the beauty of studying astrology. By highlighting the interrelatedness of the cycles found in the “Greater”/Cosmos with the cycles in the life of the “Lesser”/Individual—yoking together an understanding of “the Without” with “the Within”—astrology affirms a worldview based on the assumption that Divine Intelligences exist and are constantly orchestrating a meaningfully notated symphony of All That Is. Using the tools of astrology, people can pinpoint the section of the symphony that they are tasked to play and see how their individual parts relate to the whole. I’m not using this musical metaphor blindly because the perfection of numbers (yes, I’m a Pythagorean!) is at the heart of it all.
The greatest joy for me as an astrologer is to hold up that veritable cosmic mirror to a client and see how he or she lights up when coming to a profoundly joyful acceptance of their Being and Becoming as revealed through the language of planetary positions and placements in their natal and progressed charts. The “Aha!” moments of self-recognition are facially expressed with widened eyes and huge grins: yes, that’s why I knew I never wanted children—Saturn in Cancer in the 5th House!
I had a plethora of such “Aha!” moments myself throughout the entire magical week of UAC 2018. If you’d care to take my hand, I’ll walk you through my experiences by day, each of which seemed to have its own distinct Elemental character.
It’s been a little over a week since I appeared on Magick Radio Chicago as the sole guest invited to speak about Contemporary Polytheism (episode 134). Hosts Drew Prince and Alicia Nell Mitchell (a.k.a. “Galaxy Goddess”) asked me questions and we had a lively two-hour discussion, ranging from the 10-fold criteria I see as essential to a Polytheistic Worldview, to the points of commonality and difference between Polytheism and the broader Pagan movement in the West, and so much more.
Seeking Submissions for the 2018 Summer Issue of Isis-Seshat Journal on the Theme of “Spiritual Alliances with the Animal, Plant, and Mineral Kingdoms”
Deadline: Friday, July 6
Anticipated Release Date: Monday, July 23
Many of us who engage with the Sacred in Polytheistic, Pagan, or Animist ways maintain a “this-world” focus, believing that we can enlist the aid of helping spirits from the world around us in our Work. But what does that mean, exactly? How do you know when your pet cat, for example, takes on a role greater than that of household companion and aids you in your ritual magic?
What about the relationships you have with the plants that fuel your herb magic—how did you initially cultivate those relationships? What guideposts signaled to you that you were on the right path? How do you maintain those relationships with those plant spirits?
Those are the issues I’d like to explore in the Summer 2018 issue of Isis-Seshat journal, a quarterly journal of the worldwide is open to contributions from all theistic Pagans, Polytheists, animists, shamans, spirit-workers, and related magical practitioners besides FOI members (clergy and laity).
Content suggestions may include, but certainly aren’t limited to, the following:
- Personal discovery essays, i.e., how you came to cultivate these Allyships
- Incorporating the use of crystals or other minerals in energetic healing practices
- The history and the role of the Familiar in Witchcraft traditions, and how your practices continue those traditions
- Working with the Fae
- Guided meditations in forming various Allyships with spirits of the land or sacred beasts
So those are some ideas that merit exploring in this upcoming Summer issue of Isis-Seshat. However, I will also gladly accept any of the following:
- Reports of Summer Solstice (Northern Hemisphere) or Winter Solstice (Southern Hemisphere) group or solitary rituals
- Announcements of any special events, clergy ordinations, etc. from any FOI Lyceums or Iseums
- Original works or art / photography tied to the issue’s theme
Again, those are just some suggestions to get you writing!
As always, here’s my laundry list of criteria for acceptable content:
- Essays, articles, poetry, meditations, electronic images of artwork that are yours, not someone else’s—you retain full copyright of your work.
- If your pieces have been previously published elsewhere, that’s okay—just say so (identify where and provide the copyright date).
- There is no word count limit. Previously published essays/articles have ranged from 1,000-4,000 words.
- Please use MLA style when citing references.
- The preferred format for written material is MS Word; kindly don’t send me PDFs.
- The preferred format for digital art is JPEG or .TIF; please ensure it’s a high-res file (minimum of 300 x 600 dpi).
The deadline is Friday, July 6, 2018, and the anticipated release date is Monday, July 23.
This Call for Submissions is open to all Polytheists and theistic Pagans, irrespective of which cultural pantheon one’s honored Powers derive from—i.e., you don’t have to be a devotee of the Kemetic Neteru (i.e., the Gods of Ancient Egypt) to contribute content to Isis-Seshat journal.
I sadly am not in the position to financially compensate Isis-Seshat contributors. All contributors will receive a complimentary copy of the magazine. If you have any questions, please email me at jackalmoondesigns at gmail dot com.
I look forward to hearing from you! Blessings in the name of Isis-Seshat, Goddess of Writing! May She always render you True of Voice!
I thank today’s insanely creative astrological aspect of Taurus Sun trine Capricornian Pluto, in addition to my PMS-fueled personal energy boost (yaaasssss!), for the immense spate of personal creativity that had me bead 14 necklaces in the past 2 days and upload them for sale on my Etsy site, JackalMoonDesigns. Happily, two of my pieces, both made with antique pendants from Tibet (a Green Tara and a labradorite skull), have already sold and are en route to their buyers in different parts of the country. (I ship worldwide, actually!) Better still, take $10 off until May 14 with the coupon code 1STANNIVERSARY. Check out what’s available!
“Magick Radio Chicago” is a show that streams live online Saturday evenings from 7-9 from Chicago’s Que4 Studios. Hosts Drew Prince and Alicia (a.k.a. Galaxy Goddess) invited me back as the featured guest: we’ll be discussing Contemporary Polytheism. I’m looking forward to it! Tune in online or, if you’re local, listen on the AM radio dial, 1680.
Call in with questions when the show is live! 312-985-7834. Also, check out the Facebook Page.